€21M Centre for Research Training in Mathematical Sciences

Dr Norma Bargary 

In partnership with University College Dublin and Maynooth University, the University of Limerick is to lead a new €21million SFI Centre for Research Training (CRT) in Foundations of Data Science, with industry partners coordinated by Skillnet Ireland. The Centre has been awarded funding of €13.6 million by Science Foundation Ireland, and will provide 139 PhD students with world-class training in applied mathematics, statistics, and machine learning.

This award is the largest ever investment in mathematical sciences research in Ireland. It is a game-changer for the field, and highlights the strategic importance of data science both nationally and internationally. It will facilitate the development of a highly skilled, industry ready cohort of graduates with a foundational understanding of the mathematical, statistical and machine learning methodologies underpinning modern data science, thus ensuring students trained in the Centre are uniquely adaptable to the rapidly evolving needs of Europe and Ireland’s industry.


The Centre will address existing skills gaps in data science such as advanced analytics, high-performance computing, and the ability to create bespoke algorithmic methods to turn data into knowledge. It will impact real-world challenges in the areas of data analytics, privacy and security, smart manufacturing, health and well-being and sectors including agriculture, automotive technologies, consulting, data protection, economics, electronics, finance, health care, information technology, insurance, manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, and weather forecasting.

The students will be supervised locally by leading researchers via the 84-person, gender diverse, supervisory team. Students in the Centre will also undertake academic placements at internationally renowned collaborating institutions, benefiting from exposure to the research activities in these world-leading universities. We are delighted to collaborate with our colleagues from Europe and further afield including WIAS, Technical University of Denmark, Alan Turing Institute, CRM, Barcelona, University of Edinburgh, MIT and Harvard. Students will engage with industries and enterprises including Analog Devices, Microsoft, Accenture, Hertz, Syngenta, among others, and will develop an understanding of the real-world applications of data science, gaining transversal skills and an appreciation for the true impact of their work.

Speaking about the announcement MACSI co-director, UL’s Professor James Gleeson said: “Graduates from the CRT will positively impact all aspects of Irish society and will become Ireland’s future leaders, innovators, entrepreneurs and employers. Students will get a unique opportunity to work with some of the best researchers and innovative companies working in this area.”

UCD’s Associate Prof. Claire Gormley said: “The SFI Centre for Research Training in Foundations of Data Science will provide a world-class environment, training students in applied mathematics, statistics and machine learning, with application areas of national importance, equipping them with the skills needed to be the innovative data scientists of the future.”

Prof. Ken Duffy of Maynooth University Hamilton Institute said: “The participation of Skillnet Ireland, Irish industry and enterprise, will enable the SFI Centre for Research Training in Foundations of Data Science to create a future-proofed workforce. It will combine foundational training and research in areas of national importance, with bespoke skills that are needed to succeed in business.”

The first cohort of PhD students will begin their training in September 2019, with further intakes of students in the subsequent three years.

We look forward to developing long-lasting academic and industrial collaborations during this research programme. If you would like to find out more please see the website or email macsi@ul.ie.


Dr. Norma Bargary is a lecturer of statistics at the University of Limerick and the vice-director of the SFI Centre for Research Training led by MACSI at the University of Limerick.


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